Allen Stroud, author, academic and current chair of the BSFA, compiled a list of ‘The best contemporary fantasy and science fiction books with new takes and fresh characters’ for the Shepherd.com website. First on his list is The Janus Cycle by Tej Turner. Allen writes: “This book moved me. … the finale with an assemble moment of courage between many of the characters is such an empowering and cathartic moment… I was listening in the car and found myself in tears”
It is, of course, great news for an author that they have had such a profound effect on their readers. We’re a little concerned, though, if it moved Allen to tears while he was driving! When Tej saw Allen’s list, and his comments on The Janus Cycle, he said that to hear his book moved people is “very validating”. He went on to say: “I am very proud of [The Janus Cycle]. It put me on the map as an author and was a landmark for me on a personal level.”
Elsewhen Press are pleased to be able to publish this facsimile of the 1999 illustrated, limited edition privately published by the author but since unobtainable.
When we published The Seven Succubi (the second story of Her Majesty’s Office of the Witchfinder General, protecting the public from the unnatural since 1645), the second book in Simon Kewin’sWitchfinder series, it referenced Dr Miriam Seacastle’s modest book Red Dragon, which was privately published by the author herself in 1999 in an illustrated, limited edition. We were keen to obtain a copy but discovered that there were no extant copies available. In his own book, Simon had mentioned that the OWG in Cardiff had a copy, so we sought permission to examine it. After much obfuscation and bureaucracy, we managed to contact the librarian directly. With a little persistence they were persuaded to allow us to peruse their copy in a secure facility. We were able to make a photographic record, which is what we have used as the basis for this facsimile edition.
We subsequently obtained permission to reproduce Red Dragon from Dr Seacastle, who expressed delight that her book would once more see the light of day, but conveyed her concern that all copies would again be seized by the OWG. We assured her that we are firmly of the opinion that this book is an invaluable collector’s item, and we will robustly resist any attempt to suppress its republication.
We also obtained the approval of the illustrator to use the original illustrations in this facsimile.
The Forge & The Flood is a heart-warming tale of friendship and love, inspired by the process of self-discovery and the bringing together of two families in preparation for the author’s wedding.
DARTFORD, KENT – 14 February 2022 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is delighted to announce the publication of The Forge & The Flood by Durham-based author Miles Nelson. On the face of it, The Forge & The Flood is an innocuous fantasy story about a growing friendship between two alien species (based loosely on otters and red pandas) who seem to have little in common until a catastrophe forces them together. However, beneath the surface, it is an allegory for LGBTQ+ alliance, coming out, and accepting people even if you don’t understand them. It also places great weight on learning from the mistakes of history, to avoid repeating them.
But the story behind the writing of the book is itself like something straight from the pages of a romantic novel. Which is why they have chosen Valentine’s day to launch the book.
Peter Buck, Editorial Director of Elsewhen Press said, “We first met Miles in 2020, when he submitted a novel to Elsewhen Press that we subsequently published as Riftmaster, in March 2021. While talking to him about his writing, he mentioned a story that he had written as a wedding present for his husband Chris, when they had married at the end of 2019. The story was called The Forge & The Flood and Miles had only produced enough copies for the guests at their wedding. When he wrote the story, Miles had not intended for it to be published, only to be read by family and friends. But as he described the story to us, we were intrigued and asked if we could read it. He sent us a copy of the manuscript. We read it, and Miles and Chris agreed to publish such a wonderful story for a wider audience.”
Miles Nelson says, “The Forge & the Flood is a young adult fantasy novella which was written as a gift for my husband-to-be on our wedding day. It was based on an idea he had given me on our first anniversary, five years before, at a noodle bar that has since closed down. Because it was a wedding gift, I wanted the themes of the story to be joy and unity between two dramatically different families – even if those families happen to be adorable aliens. 15 copies were printed to be given to close family and friends and now, 2 years after our wedding, I can’t wait for everyone else to share that same joy.”
Peter Buck, again: “Anyone who meets Miles is immediately enchanted by his enthusiasm and joie de vivre. We hadn’t yet met Miles and Chris when they got married, but it is easy to imagine the sheer joy of their wedding. Giving a copy of this story to their guests would have been both romantic and delightful for all of them. We are honoured to be able to bring this story to a wider readership, in a way that remains true to its original meaning.”
The Forge & the Flood is a poignant tale of two creatures from different species who meet under adverse circumstances and grow close. A catastrophe forces the Ailura to leave their island home on makeshift rafts. One of the Ailura, Sienna, makes friends with Indigo, a creature he sees in the water. Indigo is a princess of the Lutra, and with his help the Ailura manage to land on the Lutra’s island. Indigo’s father, the Queen of the Lutra, tasks Indigo and Sienna with finding a suitable place for the Ailura to live. As they look for an appropriate habitat, Indigo and Sienna become ever closer, gradually confronting the differences between their two societies. But they also discover that these two species, who apparently have no prior knowledge of each other, may actually have had a turbulent, shared history.
In the afterword to this version of the book, Miles wrote, “As we approach our second wedding anniversary, and enter our eighth year together, it seems only fitting that we should start by sharing this story, that has meant so much to us, with the world.” He added, “Chris finished this book on our honeymoon. And he cried. A lot.”
The Forge & The Flood is available from today, Valentine’s Day, in eBook and paperback format.
Notes for Editors
About Miles Nelson
Miles was born and raised in Durham. He studied video game design at Teesside University, graduating in 2018. Since then, he has taken a step back from coding to work on his writing career, and has since led several masterclasses with New Writing North. He has been writing all his life, and although Riftmaster was technically his fourth novel, he likes to pretend the first three don’t exist. Whilst he is primarily a scifi writer who loves long journeys, strange worlds and all things space and stars, he has also had brief flings with the genres of fantasy and horror.
He often writes stories highlighting the struggles faced by the LGBTQ+ community, and tries to include themes of empathy and inclusivity in all he does. Even then, though, Miles stands firm in the belief that this is not the defining element of his stories. And although he tries to represent his community as best he can, these themes are never the main focus; because he believes that (in most cases) a person shouldn’t be defined by their deviation from standard norms.
Outside of scifi and fantasy, he has a deep-rooted fascination with natural history, and collects books told from unique perspectives (be they animal, alien, or mammoths from Mars). The older, the better; his oldest book is just about to turn 100! He currently lives in Durham City with his husband, Chris, who so far seems unworried by Miles’ rapidly growing collections.
About The Forge & The Flood
When history itself seems written to keep them apart, can two radically different peoples really find it in their hearts to get along?
Sienna is an Ailura. His kind live on the lonely island of Veramilia, bound under traditions forged by countless generations.
Indigo is a Lutra. His kind goes with the flow, having lived as free as the ocean waves since the beginning of time.
When a great calamity strikes and the Ailura are forced to flee their island home, the Ailura and the Lutra come face to face for the first time in known history. In these turbulent times, it is Indigo and Sienna who are chosen to find a suitable habitat for the displaced tribe. One a princess destined to rule his kind, the other the only son of a would-be chief, the pair seem like a natural choice.
But as friendship blossoms into something more, and their journey takes them further and further from known lands, the wanderers begin to uncover secrets hidden among the ruins. Secrets which suggest the two species may not be as alien to one another as previously thought.
The cover artwork and illustrations in the book were also created by Miles Nelson.